Short bio

Freya Vander Laenen was senior lecturer at Ghent University, Department of Criminology, Penal law and Social Law. She was co-director of the multidisciplinary research group ‘Institute for International Research on Criminal Policy’ (IRCP). Her expertise focused on vulnerable individuals (because of substance use, mental illness, and/or social exclusion) in contact with the criminal justice system. She had acquired many years of experience as a (co-)supervisor in interdisciplinary research on drug policy, offender rehabilitation and recovery. She was also (co-)promotor of several on-going PhD projects. As a promotor, she was part of the Geconcerteerde Onderzoeksactie (GOA) titled “Developing multidisciplinary strengths-based strategies for mentally ill offenders” – an interdisciplinary initiative from the faculties of Law and Criminology, Medicine and Health Sciences, and Psychology and Educational Sciences. Freya Vander Laenen was a member of the interfaculty Ghent University Research Consortium Crime, Criminology and Criminal Policy (IDC CCCP). This consortium facilitates and encourages amongst others research in the area of offending, desistance and recovery. She was a member of various international networks, like the European Society of Criminology and the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy.

Selected societal impact activities

  • 2014-2019  Developing multidisciplinary strengths-based strategies for mentally ill offenders, BOF Geconcerteerde Onderzoeksactie (GOA)
  • Presentations, (in-house) tailored training and coaching of teams and social service and mental health organisations regarding professional secrecy and ethical dilemmas 
  • 2004-… Public expenditure and social cost of legal and illegal drugs in Belgium 

Selected media

Selected events


  • Drug Policy
  • Forensic Mental Health
  • Offender Rehabilitation and Recovery

Selected projects